The #1 Cause of Belly Fat, Says Dietitian

There are numerous elements that may result in an accumulation of stomach fats—lack of sleep, soda consumption, distracted consuming, and extra—however one of many main causes of the cussed bulge has to do with a sure kind of meals that is highly regarded.

Based on Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, a registered dietitian with Steadiness One, the highest explanation for stomach fats is the consumption of processed meals, significantly these which might be marketed and bought for comfort, corresponding to packaged chips, bread, and baked items.

“We actually are what we eat, to an extent. The meals and vitamins we absorb turn into part of us at a mobile stage, and the mistaken vitamins may cause gasoline, bloating, weight achieve, and different damaging outcomes if we aren’t following a balanced eating regimen,” Finest explains.

“One of many major causes of stomach fats is a eating regimen primarily based largely round processed comfort meals. These could be wholesome processed meals or those who aren’t advertising and marketing themselves to be wholesome in any means,” she provides. “The final word motive processed meals make dropping stomach fats troublesome is that they’re largely fabricated from refined carbohydrates and sugar.”

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The distinction between “refined” and “complete” carbs

simple refined carbs candy vs complex carbs in fruit

As Finest factors out, refined carbohydrates aren’t the identical carbs you will discover if you happen to eat a chunk of fruit, for instance. Whereas fruit carbohydrates (AKA “complete” carbs) are minimally processed and comprise the fiber discovered naturally within the meals, refined carbs have been processed extra and have their pure fiber—a macronutrient that helps to gradual digestion, amongst different issues—eliminated or modified.

In different phrases, refined carbs are inclined to have little to no dietary worth and with out fiber, protein, or wholesome fat, they quantity to empty energy that may usually contribute to the creation and accumulation of stomach fats.

For instance, one current research printed in The Journal of Nutrition discovered that refined carbohydrate consumption was intently linked to a larger waist circumference and stomach fats accumulation. However, members who consumed a median of three servings of complete grains a day and fewer refined grains total had smaller waistlines, decrease fasting glucose ranges, decrease blood stress, and better ranges of “good” HDL ldl cholesterol.

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How refined carbs from processed meals trigger stomach fats

“Refined carbohydrates are processed shortly by the physique and simply saved as fats. They supply a fast supply of vitality, however this vitality comes within the type of a glucose spike and inevitable crash,” says Finest, noting that this response may cause weight achieve in two methods.

“First, the crash causes the person to turn into hungry once more quickly after consuming, no matter what number of energy have been consumed,” she says.

“Second, it can result in the physique changing into extra proof against insulin, which might result in greater glucose and weight achieve as the physique begins to retailer the surplus glucose as fats,” she says.

Why stomach fats is harmful to your well being

Appearances apart, the mere existence of extra stomach fats has a damaging affect in your total well being in various methods.

“Stomach fats, also called visceral fats, is a hazard to well being as a result of it’s carried on the entrance of the physique the place it creates a major stress on the guts and different very important organs,” Finest explains.

“This places the person in danger for coronary heart illness and stroke, amongst different continual situations. If allowed to persist, it can kind round organs and tissues which makes it troublesome to lose, additionally growing the chance of continual illness.”


Processed meals excessive in refined carbs and low in any digestion-slowing vitamins are the primary contributor to stomach fats, in line with Finest. When you’re trying to eliminate or stop the buildup of stomach fats, contemplate reducing again on processed meals. A bit of meal prep of wholesome snacks will help.

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